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More police to patrol Downtown Norfolk on certain nights 'until further notice'

The evening of March 24 marked the beginning of beefed-up police patrols in Downtown Norfolk, following the deadly shooting on Granby Street.

NORFOLK, Va. — The memorial outside Chicho's Pizza Backstage is growing, nearly one week since the deadly night on Granby Street. It was the scene of a shooting that injured three people and killed two. 

Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkin and semi-pro football player Devon Malik Harris, both 25, died. There is still no word about who fired the shots. 

"To know something like that happened, it really hit home," said student and Norfolk resident Keenen Millsapp who takes classes downtown. "It was, like, right by my classroom."

There have been calls to add lighting, cameras and more police presence on Granby Street. 

Despite a shortage of more than officers, Chief Larry Boone said he is pulling from specialty units and paying overtime to deploy additional patrols.

People who go downtown should keep seeing the increase on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until further notice.

"Me personally, I think that's a good thing. Change isn't always bad, maybe this could be good," Millsapp added.

For downtown residents like Lorraine Connaughton, the step-up in patrols is a welcomed sight.

Connaughton, who also serves as secretary of Downtown Norfolk Civic League, said she hasn't seen a comparable level of presence since before the pandemic.

"There was a focus at closing time to make sure some of the intersections were blocked off, so people got out."

Connaughton believes other factors, like local business operations and their preventive efforts, will also be crucial moving forward.

"It's more than just police that's needed downtown, but this is a good first step," she said. 

RELATED: 'A quarrel over spilled drink' | Norfolk police chief provides update on shooting that left 2 dead, 3 injured

Some Norfolk City Council members have said that they want to take a closer look at downtown business permits. Some also want to see sooner closing times.

Any official vote on that, as well as on additional city cameras or technology, would come from the council.

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